It’s stamped on our coins and paper currency, passports and treaties. It adorns our official national emblem, the Great Seal of the United States: E pluribus unum; “Out of many, one.” Since 1782, it’s been the traditional motto of the United States of America. It’s come to symbolize not only the 13 colonies that dared […]
Are we a Christian nation?
Sometimes, the United States is alluded to as a “Christian nation.” Christianity encourages us to be kind and to consider the needs of the poor, sick and less fortunate to be as important as our own. This is a universally applauded code of behavior. Yet it’s Christians particularly, who, for two millennia, have run with […]
Give thanks for Donald Trump
Well, then, people. We’ve given ourselves quite a little scare these last four years, haven’t we? This week we’re in the business of being thankful. And this year — despite a horrific, tragically preventable COVID-19 toll — we have more to be thankful for than we, as citizens of the world’s pre-eminent democracy, ever expected. First, we owe heartfelt […]
What would Jesus do?
France’s most notorious female con artist, Marthe Hanau, was imprisoned in the 1930s for defrauding naïve French investors of so much money that financial markets, and the government, collapsed. Madame Hanau, who bribed government officials, was a high-wattage charlatan. She was so skilled at deceiving gullible investors, the New Yorker magazine’s Paris correspondent, Janet Flanner, […]
We have passed the point of no return in altering the climate, achieving an unprecedented milestone in human history on Earth. We’ve succeeded — as long predicted — in sending enough greenhouse emissions aloft that ever more-extreme wildfires, floods, hurricanes, droughts and rising seas are “now irretrievably baked in,” a group of climate scientists told the New York Times […]
Betrayed by our textbooks
Lately I’m hearing a lot of laments from white people of a certain age, summed up by one woman in her 70s: “I feel betrayed by my history textbooks.” I share this shame about my own cursory grasp of the unrelenting, race-based cruelty that attends American history. Many whites I know feel duped by the […]
Can we survive self-rule?
Whatever made those Founding Fathers think we could govern ourselves? After the first attempt sputtered out in Greece, no one dared to try democratic self-governance again for 2,000 years. Little wonder. Just look at our failure, as individuals and political leaders, to control this pandemic. We blew it. Bigly. “America drank away its children’s future,” […]
Can America’s ruinous birth defect be cured?
“Our country has a birth defect: Africans and Europeans came to this country together — but one group was in chains.” — Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State. Slavery, our 400-year old birth defect, hasn’t troubled the sleep of white Americans for some time. It was abolished in 1865. We forget — actually, we whites barely were taught — that slavery was […]
What wants fixing
We’re a short five months away from replacing our president. Time to drag ourselves out of the Slough of Despond. But let’s not “return to normal.” Let’s do better. Fix what needs fixing. How about protecting the lives of “essential” workers in Washington’s orchards and packing plants and safeguarding the elderly — and those attending them — in our […]
Careless capitalism meets Coronavirus
Pandemics, it turns out, expose national weakness and strength. Strength? How about those unprotected front line health care workers, some draped in garbage bags — here in the world’s sole superpower — sacrificing their lives to save ours? Weakness? This virus has unmasked the deeply embedded economic dysfunction and disparity that bedevils our society. Yes, our president’s […]